Cult of Scientology Conspired to Destroy Skeptic Organization CSICOP
In the late 1970s, the Cult of Scientology conspired to discredit and silence the Committee for Scientific Investigation of the Paranormal, CSICOP, an organization headed by world-renowned Humanist leader Paul Kurtz, who also heads the Center For Inquiry. The 1977 order from the top level of the “Church” of Scientology outlining the plan, entitled Program: Humanist Humiliation, was released by the Washington court that convicted nine US Scientology leaders – including Mary Sue Hubbard, wife of cult founder L. Ron Hubbard – of being active in a conspiracy to steal confidential government documents (i.e., Operation: Snow White).
The ultimate goal of the program: to “handle terminately” (i.e., to destroy) the publication of Zetetic, which is now known as The Skeptical Inquirer, and CSICOP “so that they never attack Scientology or Dianetics again”. The methods: Scientology’s Guardian’s Office (now called the Office of Special Affairs, which functions as the cult’s internal CIA/police service) would, through press relations and espionage, spread rumors that CSICOP was a front organization of the CIA put in place to discredit any and all psychic phenomena in order to keep this subject under CIA control, and to stop paranormal research outside of the CIA. Precise operations would include:
- Forging a memo on CIA stationary and leaking it to selected people, including news media figures. The court documents include a report that this order was in fact carried out – a copy of a memo under CIA letterhead with the statement that it had been sent to the New York Times, broadcaster-columnist Jack Anderson and others.
- A dozen or more Scientologists write letters (samples were included) as private individuals to known anti-Scientologists of CSICOP worded so as to elicit anti-religious statements. These statements would then be sent to leaders of recognized churches to indicate that CSICOP was working against them and that it advocated the “deprogramming” of their followers. The CSICOP, however, does not investigate theological or philosophical beliefs, accept in the cases where practitioners claim that their methods are scientifically valid.
The orders would be carried out covertly so as not to be traceable back to Scientology.
At some point Paul Kurtz managed to obtain a phony letter typed on authentic CSICOP letter head with a forged Kurtz signature. The forgery was addressed from Kurtz to a contributor, and worded so as to turn serious parapsychology researchers against CSICOP. Furthermore, Kurtz claimed in an interview that at least one CSICOP critic had suggested in a published article that CSICOP is linked to the CIA.
Why the CoS attack on CSICOP?
Scientology’s attack on the committee was rooted in CSICOP members giving little credence to the pseudoscientific claims being made by LRH and his followers. CSICOP’s first publication was released just before the “Church” officially formulated its attack. This inaugural publication included an article by British Sociologist Roy Wallis, which was an excerpt from a book he had written based on extensive research into Dianetics, LRH’s disingenuously sub-named “modern science of mental health”. Wallis’ article stated that Dianetics, which LRH claimed to be based on scientific research, had been rejected by the medical, psychiatric and psychological professions, “appart from numerous marginal, limited and quasi-medical converts.”
In his article, Wallis noted help he had received from University of Toronto professor John Lee. Lee was sued by Scientologists. Later on, confidential documents of Lee’s along with relevant documents stolen from the Health Ministry’s files from a project Lee had conducted for the Ministry regarding faith healing turned up in the US court documents. Translation: As a part of Operation: Snow White, the Cult of Scientology stole private documents of Lee and hte Health Ministry.
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